ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Understanding the Paradox of Changes among Dalits in Punjab

A study of dalits in two districts of Punjab reveals that ghettoisation remains common (including in urban areas). While the traditional caste occupational structure has changed, this is less so among dalits in rural areas. Caste endogamy remains the norm. The study shows that casteism is powerfully embedded in the collective consciousness. The caste system is oppressive due to discrimination, exclusion, exploitation and untouchability, but at the same time it situates the dalits in the system as a collective identity. Their desire is to end all kinds of discrimination, oppression and exclusion, but not the caste system in its entirety. This is an instance of a deep-rooted internalisation of a world view. This paper is based on interviews of 1,600 dalit respondents randomly selected in Amritsar and Jalandhar districts of Punjab.

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